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American Oil Production Hits Another Record

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted December 16, 2023

I want to tell you an economic truism that’s universal: Behind every unit of GDP is a unit of energy.

It’s that simple.

In fact, energy is everything when it comes to an economy.

It’s very much like a human body. The more energy a human exerts (healthy energy), the healthier, more productive, more creative and more successful that person will be. They generally also live longer.

So it’s no wonder that eight of the 11 nations with the highest GDPs are also in the top 10 in the world for energy consumption.

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Every single day, the nations around the globe consume roughly 100 million barrels of oil. The economic activity in the oil markets in particular and the complete energy market in general are staggering.

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In fact, oil and gas when combined with the power industry is second only to banking when it comes to industry size.

In other words, it’s huge, lucrative, and never going away.

But here’s the rub: Oil demand is literally just getting back to where it was in 2019. After four years of post pandemic recovery that started in 2020, oil and gas demand are back on track to break records in the coming months and years.

And quite frankly, it all begins with refilling America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR).

The SPR is an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the U.S. Deptartment of Energy. It is the largest publicly known emergency supply in the world and includes underground tanks in Louisiana and Texas with the capacity for 714 million barrels. The U.S. started the SPR in 1975 to mitigate future supply disruptions.

In July 2023, inventory was 346.8 million barrels. That’s equal to about 17 days of oil at 2019 daily U.S. consumption levels of 20.54 million barrels per day or 35 days of oil at 2019 daily U.S. import levels of 9.141 million barrels per day.

The SPR of oil is being refilled as oil prices slide lower, but the pace has run into a physical limit.

The Biden administration drained 180 million barrels of oil from the SPR last year to stabilize prices after they spiked in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now 3 million barrels of oil a month are going back in.

“We are refilling as much as we can,” David Turk, the deputy energy secretary. We’ve been doing that for the last several months. And at this price level, we’ll keep doing it.” 

“WTI crude is trading at $73 a barrel, down from its September high of nearly $94. That drop in prices arrives as U.S. crude production has set fresh record highs of more than 13.2 million barrels a day,” reports Business Insider. “But as low as prices may be, there’s a limit to how much oil can be funneled into the SPR. Turk said 3 million barrels a month was the current physical limit of how much the U.S. could buy back.”

America’s Oil Industry Is Booming — in a Surprising Way

According to NPR, “It doesn’t look much like the booms of the past, when companies would scramble to pump as much oil as possible and the region would attract so many workers it became impossible to find housing and free hotel rooms.”

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“Instead,” the article says, “a sector infamous for its booms and busts is finally learning how to embrace the one thing it’s never been known for: moderation. This shift is doing a lot of good in the Permian, America’s most prolific oil basin. Oil companies are raking in profits.”

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Brian Hicks

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Brian is a founding member and President of Angel Publishing. He writes about general investment strategies for Wealth Daily and Energy and Capital. For more on Brian, take a look at his editor’s page.

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